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Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac ætate repuerascam, et in canis vagiam, vaide recusem.
CIC. DE SENECT.
The bewailing of man's miseries hath been elegantly and copiously set forth by
many, in the writings as well of philosophers as divines, and it is both a pleasant and a profitable contemplation.
LORD BACON'S ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING.
Solomon, seeking happiness from knowledge, convenes the learned men of his
kingdom; requires them to explain to him the various operations and effects of Nature; discourses of vegetables, animals, and man; proposes some questions concerning the origin and situation of the habitable earth; proceeds to examine the fystem of the visible heaven; doubts if there may not be a plurality of worlds; inquires into the nature of fpirits and angels; and wishes to be more fully informed as to the attributes of the Supreme Being. He is imperfectly answered by the Rabbins and Doctors; blames his own curiosity; and concludes that, as to human science, ALL IS VÀNITY.
VE fons of men, with just regard attend;
Observe the Preacher, and believe the friend:
That from the womb we take our fatal Thares
Happiness ! object of that waking dream
But, O! ere yet orig'nal man was made,
Born, as I was, great David's fav’rite son,
Arise,' I commun’d with myself, • arise !
Content of spirit must from science flow, * For 'tis a godlike attribute to know.'
I said, and sent my edict thro’ the land: Around
my throne the letter'd Rabbins stand; Historick leaves revolve, long volumes spread, The old discoursing as the younger read; Attent I heard, propos'd my doubts, and said
• The vegetable world, each plant and tree, - It's feed, it's name, it's nature, it's degree, · I am allow'd, as Fame reports, to know; - From the fair cedar on the craggy
brow Of Lebanon nodding supremely tall, • To creeping moss, and hyffop on the wall : • Yet, just and conscious to myself, I find • A thousand doubts oppose the searching mind.
• I know not why the beech delights the glade,
Unchang'd his branch, and permament his green.
Why does the cypress flourish in the shade?
Why does one climate and one foil endue • The blushing poppy with a crimson hue, • Yet leave the lily pale, and tinge the violet blue?
Why does the fond carnation love to shoot • A various colour from one parent root ;
While the fantastick tulip strives to break • In two-fold beauty and a parted streak? • The twining jasmine, and the blushing rose, • With lavish grace their morning fcents disclose;
· The smelling tub'rose and jonquil declare, • The stronger impulse of an evening air. • Whence has the tree (resolve me) or the flow'r, • A various instinct or a diff'rent pow'r? • Why should one earth, one clime, one stream, one breath, • Raise this to strength, and ficken that to death ?
• Whence does it happen, that the plant which well "We name the sensitive, should move and feel? • Whence know her leaves to answer her command, • And with quick horror fly the neighb'ring hand?
• Along the funny bank or wat'ry mead, • Ten zhousand stalks their various blossoms spread ; • Peaceful and lowly, in their native foil, • They neither know to spin, nor care to toil: • Yet with confess'd magnificence deride
Our vile attire, and impotence of pride. • The cowslip smiles in brighter yellow dress’d, « Than that which veils the nubile virgin's breast; • A fairer red stands blushing in the rose, • Than that which on the bridegroom's vestment flows. • Take but the humbleft lily of the field ;
And, if our pride will to our reason yield, • It must, by sure comparison, be shown, • That, on the regal seat, great David's son, • Array'd in all his robes and types of pow'r, • Shines with less glory than that simple flow'r.
• Of fishes next, my friends, I would inquire : • How the mute race engender, or respire; • From the small fry that glide on Jordan's stream • Unmark'd, a multitude without a name ; • To that Leviathan, who o'er the seas • Immense rolls onward his impetuous ways, • And mocks the wind, and in the tempeit plays ? • How they in warlike bands march greatly furth, • From freezing waters and the colder north,
« To southern climes directing their career,
Of birds, how each, according to her kind,
Why these frequent the plain, and those the wood ? "Why ev'ry land has her fpecifick brood? - Where the tall crane or winding swallow goes, • Fearful of gathering winds, and falling snows : « If into rocks or hollow trees they creep, • In temporary death confin’d to leep; • Or, conscious of the coming evil, fly • To milder regions, and a southern sky?
· Of beasts and creeping insects shall we trace - The wondrous nature and the various race ; • Or wild or tame, or friend to man or foe, • Of us what they, or what of them we know?
• Tell me, ye itudious! who pretend to see
Far into Nature's bofom, whence the bee " Was first inform’d her vent’rous flight to steer « Thro' tractless paths, and an abyss of air? • Whence she avoids the ilimy marsh, and knows • The fertile hills, where sweeter herbage grows,
And honey-making flow'rs their op'ning buds disclose?
And thro' the liquid fields again to pass,